Jeffrey Kass

Israel-Hamas War Exposes Who Real Friends Are

Image: Shutterstock/SergeiShimonovichm -Hate Speech concept. a man works at a laptop and receives messages with notification icons of bullying on social networks and hatred on the Internet
Image: Shutterstock/SergeiShimonovichm -Hate Speech concept. a man works at a laptop and receives messages with notification icons of bullying on social networks and hatred on the Internet

The loud noises from social media and the news have created added firestorm about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. And it’s ruining relationships.

On the Jewish end, it’s emotionally devastating to see so many people we thought were allies and friends post lies and half-truths about Israel who’ve never read a book on the Middle East, have never visited and know little more than Israel has a more powerful army than Hamas and thousands are dying in its response to Hamas brutal massacre of Jews and Arabs on October 7.

We see people screaming “from the river to the sea, may Palestine be free,” which if you know basic geography would mean no more Israel. We watch signs with the Star of David being put in a trash can (the original one from 2013 wasn’t even blue and white by the way).

I saw the owner of a store I used to frequent post videos of people calling for Israel’s destruction. A 20-year-old gay barista at my local coffee shop naively calls Hamas a legitimate resistance movement, as if Hamas just wants to achieve peace.

It’s hurtful to have people post how the Jews are colonizers in a land that has been the indigenous ancestral homeland for Jews long before Islam was even a religion. The Al-Aqsa Mosque, ironically, is built on top of King Solomon’s Jewish Temple.

I even had a friend of a friend call me a Nazi, tell me Israel has nothing to do with Judaism (which is utterly absurd) and accuse Israel of being no different than 1930s Germany, all after I just posted a call for Hamas to free the hostages. There isn’t much worse than accusing Jews of being Nazis.

All of these create an environment where Jews feel hated and unsafe, not understood and completely invalidated. When so many are advocating for the Jewish homeland not to exist.

It’s of course not at all antisemitic to mourn the death of innocent Palestinian children or to desire a ceasefire. It ought not be hurtful to Jews and others to see people marching for Palestinian rights. Or to demand justice for the 2.5 million Palestinians living among Israeli checkpoints and extremist Israeli settlers. People are allowed to be sad and depressed over death and destruction. They’re allowed to demand their own homeland, too. And an end to Israeli settler violence and aggression.

But when the marches, social media posts and demands for justice include denials of Israel’s right to exist, or cancel the Jewish connection to Israel, or worse, lie that Israel’s aim is to kill children, well, it’s not about Palestinian rights at that point. It’s about not accepting the Jews. It’s about denying their right to defend themselves against Hamas.

On the Arab side, it’s equally painful for them to see supporters of Israel incessantly post “history” lessons to try to prove that Palestinians aren’t a real people. That they have no claim to any land. It’s hard to watch how some deflect attention from Israel by focusing on how Arab countries refuse to take in Palestinian refugees. As if that someone lessens Israeli responsibility. Or to cheer like a sports team the IDF’s military actions in Gaza like this isn’t destroying numerous innocent lives.

It’s downright devastating to Arabs to see so many people equate all Palestinians with Hamas when we know not even most people in Gaza like Hamas. I count among my friends numerous Arabs around the globe, including Palestinians, and I know zero who support Hamas.

It doesn’t feel good to Arabs to be called Jew haters simply because they demand an end to bombings that kill babies and toddlers, even if there’s plenty of blame on Hamas for using humans and shields.

The net effect of all of this is that Palestinians won’t be any closer to a Palestinian State and Israel will not be any closer to knowing safety if we continue to invalidate and cancel each other.

Newsflash for everyone.

Israel isn’t going anywhere. Nor are the Jews. Ever. Read a history book, nobody can eradicate the Jews no matter how hard they try.

And Palestinians aren’t going anywhere either. Ever.

Our choice is clear. To remain in peril forever or find a way to understand and respect each other.

About the Author
Jeffrey Kass is an award-winning American author, lawyer, speaker and thought leader on race, ethnicity and society. His writing was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize literary award, and he was named a top 50 writer on Medium on the issues of race , education and diversity. His newest book, "Black Batwoman v. White Jesus," is a collection of essays dealing with race and ethnicity.
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